Emotions are running high in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which strikes down the landmark case, Roe v. Wade.
The protests against the decision and celebration following it expose a deep divide in our country as people post their opinions on social media, fight in the comment section and prepare to march in protest against the decision.
It’s important that we not lose sight of the struggle that everyday people face without end. One that was here before Roe v. Wade was overturned and one that will significantly increase now that it’s been overturned. The everyday struggle of keeping families strong and together.
Now, more than ever, we should be supporting and volunteering with the groups who are tackling the realities of what families are facing. Millions of families are breaking apart each year in the form of divorce and foster care. Few—if any—have the exact same set of challenges. They require fast, flexible, and personal solutions.
For some families, the struggle begins with losing a job. Others begin with unplanned medical emergencies with nobody to care for their kids, substance abuse, mental health, and burnout. Most involve a combination of many underlying issues. All of them involve young families and single parents who are suffering alone with no social support.
The families struggling in America today don’t need another march on Washington or just a pro-life statement of celebration on social media, they need a local support system. Our nonprofit, Better Together, does exactly this in Florida.
Using a network of local volunteers, businesses, churches, and community leaders, we provide temporary homes to at-risk children while helping their parents find safe homes, jobs, medical and addiction treatment, child care, transportation, and more. We challenge people to step into the lives of the marginalized and underserved. Our program makes it easy to make a difference in young families’ lives.
Since our founding, we have provided safe homes for 3,200 children while empowering parents to turn their lives around. Using our model, 98% of families are able to stay intact, requiring no further intervention from the state.
Most of the families referred to us come from child services and law enforcement, and we often get referrals from pregnancy resource centers that support young mothers.
One of these women was Alyssa, who aged out of foster care and found herself pregnant at a young age. She was scared of parenting alone. A pregnancy resource center told her about our programs and she reached out for help.
We connected Alyssa with volunteers who walked alongside her every step of the way. They mentored and supported her before and after she gave birth, delivered meals and diapers, helped her find child care, open a bank account, and find a job with flexible hours.
They engaged the father and mentored him as well. They are going to counseling together and working toward a healthy co-parenting relationship for their baby girl. Alyssa keeps in touch with some of our volunteers, who have since become close friends and continue to give her support, advice, and encouragement on her journey of new motherhood.
Our work doesn’t stop there. Mothers and families continue to need direct support from their local community long after they sign out of the maternity ward.
We’re using what we believe is the most powerful but least leveraged force in America: Volunteers and the local church. We’re challenging everyone to do more. We’re asking churches that Sunday service never end, that on the days where a physical presence isn’t needed at a church, that churches have a physical presence throughout the week in the homes where it is needed.
The families we serve—80% are single mothers—do not have time to wait for sweeping reform that may never come, or policies that change with the political winds. They are fighting to build a better future for their children right now, at this moment, and we are in their corner, rallying volunteers, businesses, and churches to step up and help them get it done.
The Kellenburger family understands this concept, as they have welcomed over a dozen children in their home and have walked alongside struggling parents who have needed a mentor and friend.
Society grows strong when we help our neighbors in need, by helping people find work and giving everyone in our society a safe and loving person to call when life gets hard.
Don’t miss this moment in history. Don’t let your celebration or grief be extinguished in a vacuum. Be excited, be sad, but above all, be willing to act.
Posted June 24, 2022